Brent sensory support service (Hearing and visual impairment)


Who we are

We work with children and young people from birth to 19, who are deaf, hearing impaired, blind, partially sighted or have additional needs, to ensure they have the full range of support and opportunities available to them.

From home and early years settings through to secondary schools, our outreach teams work alongside parents, carers, teachers and other staff to remove the barriers to learning that these children and young people experience. Our aim is to enable them to improve their lives and to achieve the outcomes they and their families aspire to.

The service is split into two teams made up of a range of professionals who support hearing and visually impaired children both at home and in school.

Brent visual impairment service (BVIS)

  • advisory teachers with a qualification in teaching children and young people with visual impairment
  • a children's mobility specialist to help children and young people with visual impairment to develop independent travel and life skills
  • a resource co-ordinator who trains and supports teaching assistants (TAs) about suitable classroom materials and appropriate support for pupils with visual impairment.

Read more about BVIS

Brent deaf and hearing impaired service (BDHIS)

  • advisory teachers with a qualification in teaching children and young people with hearing impairment
  • a deaf instructor who teaches British Sign Language (BSL)
  • a specialist learning support officer.

Read more about BDHIS

What we do

There are over 150 children with visual impairment and over 250 children with hearing impairment in Brent. Some of these children also have additional needs. Input from the service can begin as soon as the children become known to us, but this will depend on the needs of the family and how they would like to take this forward.

Early years support includes:

  • home visits
  • assessing functional hearing and vision
  • working alongside parents and carers to help a child or young person develop specific skills, for example, helping a blind child to learn to play using their other senses or supporting a deaf child in communicating with those around them
  • liaising with other professionals who may be involved with a child e.g. paediatricians and physiotherapists
  • supporting a child's transition to pre-school/school
  • offering ideas and suggestions and suitable toys and games for children with a sensory impairment.

Support in schools includes:

  • delivering in-service training for teachers and teaching assistants and providing on-going support and lesson planning for school staff on hearing and visual impairment issues
  • advising on strategies and approaches in the classroom, including the adaption of teaching materials
  • helping with exam and access arrangements, school trips and work experience
  • providing mobility and independence training in schools
  • teaching specialist skills like listening skills and Braille
  • helping to recruit and train teaching assistants
  • gathering pupil and parent feedback and acting upon it.


Getting referred to us


Most referrals for children with visual or hearing impairments are made by local or specialist hospitals after diagnosis and the service has developed good contacts with them. Parents are informed by the hospital about the Brent Service and the hospital gets their consent to refer on to us.

If schools are concerned about a child who does not have a diagnosis they can contact us directly (see leaflet). Parents who are concerned about a possible visual or hearing difficulty will be advised by the school to get an appointment with a health professional for example, a GP, who can refer on if necessary, or an optician in the case of a child not seeing clearly in class. We can then get involved if necessary.


Training opportunities

We tailor our training to the needs of the individuals or groups.

This includes:

  • a one-off awareness raising session on visual or deafness/hearing impairment
  • sessions for teachers on approaches and strategies that can be used in the classroom to ensure that particular children are fully included
  • in-depth training for key staff e.g. class teachers or subject teachers
  • training for school support staff to help them to be effective in their role and promoting independent learning
  • training in the modification of materials for children with visual impairment
  • training for other professionals e.g. therapists
  • awareness raising for other people who have contact with the child or young person e.g. escorts on Brent Transport Service.

Contact us for more information.